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Handling poor performers

Date posted: 31.05.2016 | Author: Harry Bovensmann

Handling poor performance is arguably one of the more difficult tasks faced by managers in the modern workplace.

Terminating the service of an employee who was caught with his ‘hand in the cookie jar’ is often easier that letting someone go who really tries hard to get the job done, but fails. We appear to be more comfortable at taking tough decisions where the employee is to blame or at fault than where the employee is unable to perform due to no fault on his part.

In many jurisdictions, employers may fairly terminate the service of an employee where the employee fails to meet the required performance standard. Incapacity due to poor performance is distinguishable from workplace misconduct in that misconduct entails the intentional or negligent breach of the workplace rules or standards. Poor performance, as a form of employee incapacity, occurs where the employee lacks the ability or capability to perform to the required standard.

What is often very difficult for such under-performing employees to appreciate is that they are at risk of termination, notwithstanding their work ethic or commitment to the cause. Poor performers regularly feel disgruntled when taken to task for not performing up the required standard as, in their view, they are trying their utmost to get the job done and cannot be faulted for not achieving the required standard.

Research indicates that managers should take greater care in communicating standards of expected performance to subordinates. Most employees benefit from more regular feedback on their performance and highlighted the need for sound recruitment practices.

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